Power Kite Forum

PTW Playa - evolution 2

eric67m - 2-26-2018 at 09:49 PM

Big posts with lots of words and pictures are difficult to post from my phone without crashing. Bear with me, I'll get there with several posts.

Short story.

I wanted a big buggy. I bought the Popeye the Welder, Playa buggy and built a fork for Bigfoot lite tires.



More to come.

eric67m - 2-26-2018 at 09:49 PM

Long story

Well since November I have managed to remained quiet about this...

I am the new owner of the Popeye the Welder Playa buggy. Some things have changed, so read on.

Originally Popeye made the Playa buggy and the Viper for Mike (MDK) in Idaho. When Mike sold the Viper buggy it sold with the beach racer tires and the swan neck that fit both the Viper and the Playa buggies.

Back in November Blitzhound, John ,contacted me to see if I was interested in purchasing a buggy that he recently picked up. John knew I was looking for a full sized buggy with big tires on it. John had bought the playa buggy on barrow tires from MDK in hopes that it would fit his brother. The playas width tuned out to be too narrow for his brother.

John offered it up to me but he was keeping the sysmic rims that were originally on the buggy. I would get it on standard black Peter Lynn wheels and ribbed barrow tires.

There was some miscommunication about the sizing of the buggy. John gave me the measurement of between the buggies metal rails, he measured it without the padding, and I was assuming it was with padding and the seat. After I got the buggy I also realized that a Peter lynn divine harness adds about 1.25-1.5" to the width of your hips, right where the siderails hit me.

I first realized that the buggy would need to be widened I removed the side name plates and the rear back support (added by MDK?). I moved the rear siderails to the outside of the axle mounts. This was still not enough. I ended up adding 3/8 to 1/2" at the back of the buggy and 1 to 1-1/8" at the front. I decided to do these as spacers vs cutting off the axle plates to relocate and re-weld them. I would have needed to extend the siderails at the swan neck to add to the spacing. Hopefully the spacers will work properly and still allow the buggy to be returned to its original state. The thicker front spacers are hollow rectangular stainless steel tubing to save on weight.

After I got my spacing sorted out I made a new cross bar before the axle to strap the seat too (this also needed to be wider) I adjusted the buggy so it was set up on the barrow tires. This buggy sits really low compared to my Flexifoil Navaro.



eric67m - 2-26-2018 at 09:50 PM

I measured out the wheelbase with the barrow tire for reference when I would add the Bigfoot lite tires.

Next I purchased Bigfoot lites (Nanco 21x12x8) and put them on a set of Peter Lynn plastic wheels that I had extra. I also got 45 degree valve stems to easier access then while inflating. I had trouble mounting one of them because the two seating surfaces were not concentric. I ended up removing the valve core. Modifying my inflater to clamp into the stem and also have a 90 degree on/off valve. I coated the beads with Windex and manipulated the beads until I got air into it. Removing the valve core meant that I could quickly depressurise the tire and rim to prevent damage to the rim at the higher seating pressure.

I removed the barrow front fork and wheel. Then I put the Nanco bfl's on the rear axle and placed the front wheel in approximate position according to my previous wheelbase dimension. I ended up adjusting the original swan neck from its lower adjustment point up to its upper adjustment angle. I then took more measurements of the seat height and swan neck angles.....

Hopefully at the spring SOBB event I will be able to borrow John Ellis's tire grooving tool to add some cuts for more side grip.

eric67m - 2-26-2018 at 09:50 PM

I played with these numbers and previous buggy drawings that I had done at work on theoretical dream buggies created in Solidworks. I then designed a fork that I liked the styling of. The fork was inspired by a Libre Majestic and GT Rapide++.

I then purchased 1" sch 10 304 stainless steel pipe
(1.32x0.11 wall). I polished it out, packed it with sand and static bent it on my works Ercolina CE40 rolling bending machine. Cut it to my full sized drawing. Then I talked my employer into cutting the 7 parts I needed for my fork on the companies water jet cutter. I polished all these pieces out at my work before welding them together. The bottom of the axle plate is flat to the ground, the photo angle makes it appear to angle downward, it doesn't...




You may notice the ETC several places on the fork. I figured that since this is a PTW buggy (Popeye The Welder) that as a semi joke I would have ETC on my fork. ETC could stand for (Eric The Copycat) or (Eric The Creator)...

I created a basic fixture/jig to fit and weld the upper crown pieces to the lower bent legs. Then I created a
fixture/jig for adding the lower axle plates and foot peg plates. I welded everything up.

I purchased one of the monster scooter MB165 front fenders. To modify it I ended up using 2" of soft foam inbetween the tire and the fender. I strapped around the circumference with a ratchet strap to compress the center ridge of the fender and flare the outer edges wider. This was not easy. It required a lot of heat with a great gun claiming a high heat of 1100 degree. And also took a bunch of time heating and clamping and re-tightening. I did over heat it in several places and I needed to re-paint the fender to get rid of some of the lighter red color spots. I used rust-olium safety red enamel. I then tried to spray lacquer clear coat over it. The combo of enamel and lacquer immediately crackled and crazed. I sanded it out with 800 grit and then decided I liked the matte look. I think it actually looks nice with the sheen of the buggy bags side rail covers. I do worry that the fender is too tight of fit and may suck up sand and propel it forward and up. Moving the axle forward a position on the fork should eliminate that problem but not look as fitted

eric67m - 2-26-2018 at 09:51 PM

I re-assembled the buggy to weigh it before and after the wheel swap. It weighed 92lbs on barrows and weighs 102lbs on Bigfoot lites with a fender.

I repolished everything back up and re-assembled the buggy. Many parts only got polished so much, the rear axle has many dings and pock marks from either the Alvord playa surface or traveling on a vehicle.

I still need to add the side plates, carbon belly pan and under rod for my AQR system.





I am pleased with how the buggy came out visually. I still need to take it out for my maiden voyage on it. Hopefully it will ride reasonably. I also hope that Carlos "Popeye" finds my modifications acceptable.

Windstruck - 2-27-2018 at 03:28 AM

Wow! She is a beauty. Nice work, and a fine story to read through. Congratulations. She will be a true pleasure to ride in. I am always most interested in reading about such "creative" journeys. "Creative" since copycat hardly seems to give it justice. I particularly liked the trapazoidal slits on the brace of your front fork; that was a great touch.

I don't blame John one bit for holding onto those Sysmic rims. Down the road grabbing a set of them for yourself would really pimp out this ride.

RedSky - 2-27-2018 at 03:19 PM

Your posts read like the lyrics to Johnny Cash' "one piece at a time", except yours turned out to be a stunner! Nice work, truly nice work.
Popeye will approve for sure. LOve that sand guard. Kinda jealous. I'd like that for my bug. You're forgiven for keeping this hidden from us these past few months. Welcome to the exclusive PTW club. :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

PS: Carl is of a slender build. I had to remove the padding on mine just to squeeze in, but using depower meant they weren't needed anyway...and as a consequence, there's more chrome on display. :D

LOve it

abkayak - 2-27-2018 at 07:33 PM

yea nice bug:thumbup::thumbup:
forks great,,matte really works
all in on the ETC:thumbup:

Chook - 2-28-2018 at 06:10 AM

Looks great, very well done. :thumbup:

I always like a low CofG (seat height) so I can hold down more kite.

Chook_thumb_JPG_4d38fddf1bbccb5ba96c21550ac85659.jpg - 49kB

eric67m - 2-28-2018 at 11:17 PM

Thank you all, and others by u2u and email for your kind words. I like Johnny cash and take no offence to my story sounding that way. Just the facts...I usually get a few 15-30 minutes time spans within a day that "my projects" happen in. They are always fabrication related and quite often kite related. I just like building things and I don't mind documenting it to possibly help others figure out how to do something similar. I'm currently working on side plates and belly pan installation. Also some "bling" may be in my future.

Windstruck - 3-1-2018 at 06:23 AM

Quote: Originally posted by eric67m  

Also some "bling" may be in my future.

That's what I'm talking about!

eric67m - 3-1-2018 at 07:44 PM

I added the side name plates and the carbon belly pan. I still need to trim my zip ties.





abkayak - 3-2-2018 at 06:37 AM

:thumbup::thumbup:really great plate
scuff marks already?

eric67m - 3-2-2018 at 07:04 AM

Quote: Originally posted by abkayak  

scuff marks already?

Both the buggy and the Dragonfly carbon products, carbon fiber belly pans are used. I put the previously scratched side down again.

Well done Eric

popeyethewelder - 3-22-2018 at 02:20 PM

popeyethewelder - 3-22-2018 at 02:22 PM

eric67m - 3-22-2018 at 03:10 PM

Thank you for your approval Popeye.

In looking through old pictures of the buggy I noticed that I have the name plates on the wrong sides because the blue stars should be at the back to line up with the back center plate (not currently on).

The other question is when I got the buggy it had a rear cross brace or backrest which it appears Mike had made by somebody else. It is not in the earlier pictures that I have found. Is this correct?

RedSky - 3-22-2018 at 05:22 PM

Popeye has tried posting a reply about three times but the text was not there for some reason. He has asked me to post the following message

RedSky - 3-22-2018 at 05:40 PM

Well done Eric, what an enormous amount of work you have had to do, you done well.

I am positive it will ride well, if I am being hyper critical I would lengthen the down section to lower the front of the buggy another 1 1/2 or 2" but that is just my preference. I tried a huffy front fender on the SuperBug I found as the sand whipped rounds at speed under the guard, it would shoot out the top front and I would be riding through a cloud of sand over 50mph, that's not ideal, so I soon moved on from that, with experience a decent gap between the tyre and the fender works better.

Look forward to hearing how you get on, good luck.

popeyethewelder - 3-22-2018 at 11:43 PM

Thanks Tom, I was trying to reply with my phone and failing

To your other question, I did not put a cross brace on the Playa or Viper



popeyethewelder - 3-22-2018 at 11:44 PM

I tried a HUGGY front fender on the SuperBug I found as the sand whipped rounds at speed under the guard, it would shoot out the top front and I would be riding through a cloud of sand over 50mph, that's not ideal, so I soon moved on from that, with experience a decent gap between the tyre and the fender works better.


RedSky - 3-23-2018 at 02:41 AM

Looking at those pictures made me realise that I need to polish up my Dominator.

Windstruck - 3-23-2018 at 10:23 AM

Van's got a few sets of 4x8 Sysmics. Just sayin....



eric67m - 3-23-2018 at 11:25 AM

Quote: Originally posted by Windstruck  
Van's got a few sets of 4x8 Sysmics. Just sayin....



Yah, yah. I hear you.

eric67m - 4-7-2018 at 01:22 PM

I finally got out for a short run between yesterday's no wind and today's wind storm. Yesterday I couldn't keep my 12M peak in the air. Today my 1.5m was enough to get moving and at times was too much. I got about 45 minutes in before it started to rain. The buggy handled really well. The back end would break loose before the front. I could possibly move my seat back a bit.


My daughter took some pictures from a ways away. This is one of the better ones.


I am pleased with my rear rack. It's super stable on the freeway and bumpy ocean access roads.


sand flea - 4-7-2018 at 02:02 PM

Glad you got some seat time Eric
Buggy looks great!
Did you groove your tires!

eric67m - 4-7-2018 at 02:12 PM

Yes, I did groove my tires. I borrowed a tire groover that I will return to its owner at spring SOBB. I put the buggies axle up on a saw horse so I could rotate the tire. I did 8 grooves spaced with 1/2" masking tape with the tool.

Demoknight - 4-24-2018 at 12:20 PM

Eric, does that front fender throw sand out the top of the wheel? I have noticed when I first put a fender on my front wheel, if I had it too close to the wheel, the sand would just get thrown up and out the top and blow back into my face anyway.

eric67m - 4-25-2018 at 07:25 AM

I honestly could not tell. The sand was blowing across the surface of the wet packed surface. Hopefully I'll get more seat time at SOBB.

ColinW - 5-6-2018 at 11:09 AM

Hey Eric
Fantastic work on your new ride!
I see (I think?) that you have some spacers in between your down tube and the clamping plates on your side rails.
Could you tell me what they are made of?
I'm going to need something similar on my Pagona.
As a carpenter, I was thinking of just using some hardwood blocks, but I'll bet there would be better options.
Mine will have holes drilled, as the bolts go through the swan neck.
Looking forward to seeing you at SOBB, and drooling over your new stainless:o

eric67m - 8-21-2018 at 05:32 PM

Here are a few of my favorite pictures so far this summer of my buggy. Im looking forward to another SOBB in a few weeks.


A point of view of me trying to chase down wind_dog. That pink kite makes him fast...

eric67m - 8-21-2018 at 05:33 PM

Duplicate, delete.

eric67m - 8-21-2018 at 05:33 PM

Duplicate, delete.

eric67m - 8-21-2018 at 05:34 PM

Duplicate, delete.

eric67m - 8-21-2018 at 05:54 PM

Quote: Originally posted by ColinW  

I see (I think?) that you have some spacers in between your down tube and the clamping plates on your side rails.
Could you tell me what they are made of?

Colin, sorry to keep you waiting for 3 months...

My spacers at the front are made from 1"x0.5"x0.065" stainless rectangular tubing. You are seeing the wider 1" side. They are mitered and welded into a rectangular frame. There is also another piece of 11ga (0.125") stainless steel in addition on each side.

eric67m - 11-1-2018 at 08:05 PM

Keeping in my style of Johnny cash "one piece at a time" instructional how too...

When I first built my bigfoot sized fork for my buggy I built it around one of my three wheels. Eventually I cut the polished and bent material for my fork legs. It was at this time that I realized that one of my three tires was 9/16" shorter than the other two tires. Guess what one i was building it around. Oops.

At the point that everything was bolted together the neck bolt and nut just barely cleared the tire. I decided to ride it this way through the summer with the plans to fix the fork so it will clear any bigfoot tire during the winter when I had more time.

Recently I cut my fork to extend it. I consulted a friend that has built and modified custom motorcycles throughout his life. He suggested that I machined a insert/slug to go tightly into the fork leg to support where the cut was. I machined thick wall stainless pipe down so it would fit into my fork leg. I made the insert/slug longer at first. It inserts just over 1" into each end of the fork leg adjacent to the cuts.

I drilled and tapped (6) 8-32 holes to hold everything in place so I could mock it up for length and check for square. Once everything fit and cleared to my liking I pulled out the screws, countersunk the outer leg.

I then fuse welded the countersunk outer leg to the inner insert/slug.

These six welds would keep the insert/slug in place which supports the welds near the extension from behind. After all bolts were removed and replaced with welds I cut a short section of the original tubing that was extra from building the fork to fill the gap. These pieces ware split in half (so it could get into the extended section and around the insert/slug).

This little piece also got beveled on the edges so the weld would penetrate to the full thickness of the original fork tube. I welded everything up and then sanded and polished all the welds flush to blend in with the rest of the fork.



Now my fork clears all of my wheels and tires.

awindofchange - 11-1-2018 at 08:52 PM

Wow, that's totally awesome. Thanks for the share.

ColinW - 11-3-2018 at 10:12 PM

Fantastic mod Eric!
Would you be willing to come up to Victoria and figure out my disc wheel fork?
It is currently in the back corner of the garage awaiting me to improve my skills in many areas of fabrication.
I am still hopefull that it will be ready for Ivanpah this spring.
Thanks so much for your input earlier tho!

Windstruck - 11-4-2018 at 06:18 AM

Just read through this all with zooming in on all the photos. Too cool. Very nice to see this all come together. Having seen this bug in the flesh I know what a sweet ride it really is. Well played.

cheezycheese - 11-4-2018 at 07:28 AM

Black magic, I say... :cool: fine craftsmanship :thumbup:

eric67m - 11-4-2018 at 09:43 AM

Thank you all for for your comments.

Colin, keep trying and practicing. It will all come together.

popeyethewelder - 6-10-2019 at 12:36 AM

Now you have extended the fork legs, you will need to extend the swan neck to bring the front end back down to earth, all part of the learning curve and evolution of building the perfect buggy for yourself :-)